She arrived into our lives as a small feisty feral kitten but mellowed into a beautiful big old cat.
She loved nothing more than to have a tiny dab of butter to lick, and was delighted when she was able to score tidbits such as ham and chicken.
In her older years she would demand food loudly and position herself in the kitchen to be the first in line to eat!
As a young cat she had a male admirer in the shape of Dinky, one of our neighbours’ cat who thought she was simply the best thing since sliced bread. She was aloof but allowed him to come and sit near her in companionship.
She was not ameowed when Harry cat joined our family but he soon won her over. You would frequently find them snuggled up happily together.
Then the children started arriving. She adored our eldest and would follow her around, snuggle up and get worried when when she was upset. This love continues until the end where she would choose to go and chill out in our eldest’s room purring like mad when being stroked by her.
She took a bit more adjustment to the next two arrivals but soon adapted.
She was a gentle cat and tolerated a lot of “love” from the children including them dressing her up in silly hats etc.
However if they annoyed her she wasn’t averse to giving them a warning growl before smacking them if they didn’t toe the line.
If anyone was sad or ill, she would often go and sit by them purring loudly to provide comfort.
Dodger cat joined our family and she was most definitely not impressed with him. He adored her and she hated him equally. Over time she mellowed and would on the rare occasion let him come and sit near her but never to snuggle despite his best attempts to persuade her otherwise.
She has faced a number of illness over the years but battled through them stoically. She loved taking her medicine much to our amusement and was always good at the vet bar the one time she swiped one for prodding her a wee bit too hard.
She loved most of all to eat and sleep. As she got older she had a set routine for her day and would complain if we failed to comply in carrying out her demands.
Many a day has been spent just stroking her whilst she purrs, lifting her up and down onto chairs and beds on the days her arthritis was bad along with meeting her demands for food.
For a feral kitten she has had an amazing long life full of love. What more could a cat have asked for?
Today our beloved Aunty Betty went home to Heaven.
She was a lady full of determination, a passion for life and loved her family deeply.
She was at her most happiest when spending time with the youngest members of the family telling stories, playing games with them or just simply enjoying watching them playing.
The joy in her face when meeting the latest additions to the family was always lovely to witness.
When Ian and his siblings were younger she used to make up stories about a boy called Jonathan Jim who was a goody goody by all account. She was not amused when they decided to kill him off!
She was also a great talker who would talk for hours on end. Often used to repeat stories or got crossed with her nephews and nieces if they didn’t recall who she was talking about. It usually transpired that said person has long since died before they were born!
To look at her you would have never known that this was a lady who had travelled the world and has so amazing stories to share about her life such as when training to be a Midwife living in the community under the watchful eye of the Matron who was a stickler for rules.
She cared deeply for people and ended her working life late as a warden for elderly people. It used to amuse us greatly that this elderly Aunt of ours would talk about all the old people not realising that most of us saw her as elderly too. It especially tickled us that she would go on holidays abroad telling us that she was acting as an escort for the elderly.
She adored animals and in her later life enjoyed coming to our house as our cats would happily curl up purring on her lap whilst she stroked them gently. They weren’t always best pleased when she ejected them to go home!
She used to drive us nuts by deciding to go to the loo at the last minute just as we were about to sit down to eat, or standing in the doorway talking totally unaware that she was blocking access to anyone else wanting to enter or leave the room.
She was a teetotaller so it caused great amusement amongst the family one year when she accidentally drank a small glass of wine declaring it as the best apple juice she has ever tasted. I don’t think any of us dared to tell her the truth.
She had a strong faith and this was steady-fast to the end. She loved God with all of her heart and took time to pray and share her faith with others.
Today she has gone home to be with her Heavenly Father. She is free of all her aches and pains. In that we rejoice, but we hope she isn’t blocking the door talking to her beloved Heavenly Father or there’ll be a long line of impatient people behind her waiting to join the Heavenly Party.
It can be hard to know how to give when you are aware that every penny counts.
So when challenged by church to help raise money to build a new centre that will benefit all in the community. I was uncertain how much I could give, when I had so little to offer in comparison to others.
Then an ideal opportunity presented itself to me, where I could give wholeheartedly with a cheerful heart.
I didn’t know how much we would make, but as my friend Jane said, “Every little counts. We might only raise enough for a packet of screws and a hammer but it all counts!”
So Jane and I took part in a tabletop sale selling toys, baby items, books and clothes having decided that any money we made would goes towards St Thomas’ “Heart of the City” building project.
We raised enough to buy several packets of screws, two hammers, some bricks, a large pot of paint, tea bags and biscuits!
Some years ago we experienced the loss of our much wanted baby whilst I was pregnant.
It was a difficult and painful time in our lives, dealing not only with our loss but that of our eldest child who had been giddy with excitement that they were to become a big sibling.
In our grief we planted a fruit tree in our garden to remember “Flumps” by. It was tiny when we first got it and for a few years it only produced a tiny amount of fruit and these could be eaten whole in a couple of mouthfuls.
Sometimes you’ll see one of us at the bottom of the garden having a quiet moment to reflect stood or sat by “Flumps’ Tree”.
Occasionally you’ll find the odd handmade craft or picture made by one of our children dangling from the branches. These always make me smile.
Today as I went out to collect the fallen fruit on this stormy gusty day I stopped and looked at “Flumps’ Tree” standing strong in the storm bearing plenty of fruit of various sizes. It made me think of how far we have come as a family through the storms to enjoy the fruit of life.
Life isn’t easy and there are many twists and turns, but as long as we stand firm holding on through the storms of life, we’ll make it out through to the other side and have moments where we can enjoy the sweetness and joy of life too.
Just over a week ago we received an email asking if we would be willing to adopt a tabby Devon Rex cat in need of a new home.
So my oldest child and I set off on a long journey across the country leaving the rest of our family to indulge themselves playing games, watching Star Wars films and having a sneaky MacDonalds.
We stayed overnight with my gorgeous Nanny who insisted on feeding us until we could eat no more, and even then she wasn’t convinced we were full!
A few miles away the following day we went to pick up Dodger the cat. He was friendly but wary at the same time.
The rescue lady gave us a brief history of his background and then after signing some paperwork he became ours.
We made the return journey home with Dodger voicing his disapproval of being contained in the cat carrier every now and again, but relaxed and went to sleep when we played classical music to him.
He purred with delight during our stops when he was allowed out of the carrier to wander around the car.
On arrival home Dodger was happy to explore downstairs but appeared a little jumpy if unsure of noises.
A week on and we’re still getting to know him. He has met Molly and is desperate to be her friend so he can snuggle up to her. So far Molly is not having any of it. He is allowed to eat and sit near her but too close she gives him a warning hiss. Possibly in time he will convince her to let him snuggle close but we’ll see.
We’ve been trying to figure out what Dodger likes to do and discovered accidentally that he enjoys playing Fetch. So the children have enjoyed throwing paper and toy crinkly mice for Dodger to chase and retrieve. Who needs a dog when you have a cat that plays Fetch?!
He is still very wary of loud noises and if there are too many people in the room but is slowly adapting. He loves to purr and weave in and out around our legs. He particularly enjoys it once the children are in bed and he can sit on us to doze in peace.
He is very interested in going out to explore and meows crossly if spots us out in the garden. It will be a wee while before he will be ready to go out as want him to feel more settled in our house and also so his microchip is updated to our address in case he does get lost.
It’s weird having another cat in the house again, especially as we’re still adjusting to life without Harry cat. However I’m sure that Harry cat would have approved of us adopting Dodger to give another cat a chance of happiness with our family.
I’m sure in time Dodger will settle in and it will seem like he’s always been here.
I have a dear friend who sadly was subjected to a number of years abuse by a man. She was not the first either.
This was a man that she once loved. A man who should have loved, cherish, respected and protected her. He did none of those things. Instead he abused her both emotionally and physically. He took away her self esteem and made her think it was all her fault.
Over time she was supported by a feisty bunch of women to find the courage to leave him to start a new life.
It was not easy for her to escape or to go where he could not find her and their children because he was so determined not to let her go to the extent he stalked her and made threats.
She took the brave step of informing the police and seeking support from local services. The police found other women who he has abused previously and built a case against him.
At times she was in despair that she would ever break free from him or her past. She doubted herself so many times as to whether she had made the right decision for her little family as life wasn’t easy moving from shelter to shelter.
He tried to intimidate her into withdrawing her statement but she stayed strong. The case went to court.
My friend has faced abuse from others during this time who attempted to play down what he has done or blamed her.
Her feisty group of women never lost faith and encouraged her to keep going, even when all seemed lost.
Today that man has been sentenced for what he did to my friend and all those other women. Justice was served today as he has been sent to prison for a very long time. Today marks a new chapter in my friend’s life, one where she can live her life in freedom, not having to look over her shoulder in fear or worry that he will hunt her down to abuse her once again. She will be able to bring her children up safe from harm.
My friend I am so incredibly proud of you for finding that courage to rise up and seek a better life for your children and yourself away from him. It’s not been easy and there are bound to be days ahead where you still struggle, but know this you are a warrior and you will rise every time.
We’ve just returned from a very special place where we go as a family to unwind and breathe.
We leave behind the stress and drudgery of life and swap it for carefree moments where we can relax totally as a family together.
Our special place is in a beautiful location where you can see mountains and the stars shine bright at nights. You hear the calls of nature around you and feel so alive. It is here that we breathe in time with nature.
It is here that we meet with old friends and forge new friendships in the middle of a field. We play, eat and drink together laughing until our sides ache late into the night.
Every time we come to our special place we explore and go on adventures always discovering some place new on our travels.
We particularly love going to a gorgeous sandy beach where you drive through a forest to reach it. As we pass through the forest we always hope that we may be fortunate enough to catch a sighting of red squirrels which reside here.
Our special place is like a treasure trove in time as there is a wonderful museum on site of classic cars and military vehicles on display.
For each one of us this place holds so many memories and we always return home feeling relaxed having had the space to breathe and enjoy life without any of life pressures.